Tell us a little about your role serving as Georgia’s Beef Quality Assurance Coordinator.
I took the role of serving as Georgia’s BQA Coordinator in 2009. At that time, our program was stagnant and we had less than 100 certified producers in the state. The program was rejuvenated with new training materials and a strong campaign from UGA Extension and the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association. Georgia now has over 2,000 Beef Quality Assurance Certified producers. In the role of coordinator, I work with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association to make sure that our program meets recommended standards. The goal is to have all beef industry members certified and help them keep that certification active.
As a consumer, what does knowing the beef you purchase for your family is produced by farmers and ranchers who are BQA certified and practice BQA methods mean to you?
The mission of the BQA program is to ensure consumer confidence through educating all segments of the beef industry on management practices that increase beef quality and safety. Purchasing beef raised by cattlemen that are BQA certified tells me that they are committed to producing a quality product and they care about the industry. I know that beef from a BQA certified producer will be safe, wholesome, and a quality product to feed my family.
What are some benefits you observe UGA’s Extension Programs have to beef producers in your county?
Bulloch County’s beef producers, like those all over the state, need to stay informed of the latest management techniques, technologies and research that will help them be sustainable and they also need access to basic fundamental beef production information. UGA Extension provides them with that through courses, field days, workshops, and numerous online resources. When my clientele comes to me with a question or problem, if I can’t answer it I have a host of experts that I can call on the assist.
What do you enjoy most about your position serving as an Agriculture and Natural Resource Agent, as well as a BQA Coordinator for Georgia?
Serving as a county agent and BQA Coordinator is very rewarding. Being able to assist those involved in agriculture in my community be successful is gratifying. Serving as the state BQA coordinator hits home to me in a variety of ways. As an extension agent, I am helping producers stay sustainable and be productive. As a fellow cattle producer, I am personally vested in the program and we follow BQA principles on our farm. In addition, as a wife, mother and consumer, I am confident in the beef that I purchase to feed my family. I love getting to meet fellow cattle producers all over the state and hear their stories and learn about their operations.